New Role Models
September 5, 2017
She leans nonchalantly against her shopping cart filled with various groceries as she waits patiently in line at the checkout. Her eyes absently glance over the merchandise displayed all around her until her gaze fixes on the brightly colored magazines displayed in neat horizontal rows.
Cover after cover depict the same images: half dressed women of similar slender physiques with perfect makeup and sultry smirks. Large bold headlines jump off pages advertising weight loss tips and articles on how to get the perfect body.
With the cookie cutter “ideal” female body and her lack thereof in mind, she carefully gets out of line and makes her way back to the isles to rethink some of her previous grocery choices.
The “ideal” female body has changed dramatically over the course of human history. From the voluptuous ancient greek depictions of the goddess Aphrodite, to the willowy, boyish ideal of the ‘20s, to the hourglass Marilyn-Monroe figure of the late 50s and early 60s, to today’s standards, society has always instigated a push of some variation for women to look a certain way in order to be considered beautiful.
From magazines, to television, to social media, women everywhere are constantly bombarded with society’s current definition of the “perfect” female body: tall, slender-but-curvy, toned, etc. This idealized body is merely one specific type among a seemingly endless array of different kinds of bodies. When only one kind of body is being publicized and considered beautiful by the public, negative body-image issues arise that are unhealthy for the minds of young girls today looking to celebrities as role models.
However, “plus-size” modeling, which consists of models sizes 8 and up, is quickly becoming more widespread in the world of fashion. In fact, it is currently the most in demand sector of the modeling industry today as people are making the push for more body-type diversity in the fashion realm.
One of the people making a push for such change is Ashley Graham, a current “plus-size”model, designer and body activist. She is using her platform to eliminate impossible body standards set by society. Promoting the idea that every body is distinctly unique and beautiful, she has been on the rise in the modeling industry ever since she became the first woman of her body type to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2016. A role model to young girls and women, she devotes her work to demonstrate the power of confidence and being comfortable in one’s own skin.
Other “plus-size” models working on changing how the public views women’s’ bodies include Iskra Lawrence, Diana Veras, Tara Lynn, Hunter McGrady, and many more.
With their curves, confidence, and positive demeanor, “plus-size” models today are changing the way the fashion industry depicts women and more importantly, inspiring women everywhere to love themselves wholly and unapologetically for who they are.